You take a chance every day, in numerous situations. Some outcomes are just more sure than others, so you’re more confident about making those decisions. But how about the decisions where you don’t know how it will turn out? You will at some point come to those scenarios and they’re terrifying.
How to take a chance if it could mean failure?
Being a risk-taker doesn’t come naturally for me. When confronted with risk I used to think, “What if I failed? I’ll look stupid AF!”
Then I began to notice something: people who began achieving great things. Awe-inspiring things that changed other people’s lives for the better.
Not only did I notice them, but I also realized something important. They took huge risks to get there.
Not just one crazy decision, but many crazy decisions over time.
A lot of those decisions weren’t great ones, and they suffered. But they kept going. Each misstep wasn’t a step back, but a step towards what would lead them to what they would be renowned for.
And here was the biggest revelation of all: they were just like me.
Everyone thinks those people have amazing, super-human powers. Yet, when asked how they got to where they are now, a lot of them had a common theme:
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance….”
“Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.”
~ Elon Musk
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
~ Calvin Coolidge
“Success is not the absence of failure; it’s the persistence through failure.”
They achieved greatness not by being smarter, more charming, or physically stronger.
Simply by not giving up and choosing to continue.
And that’s how you can find the strength to take those same chances.
Instead of framing these decisions under the question, “What if I fail?” Frame them under the question, “What will I learn?”
When I realized this, I didn’t IMMEDIATELY begin taking every risk I could find. But it did immediately change how I approached taking chances. Risk-taking is definitely a muscle that you need to exercise in order to be comfortable with it. Here’s my process on how to decide to take a chance.
This is how you can take a chance (when it’s scary AF)
- Look at what’s making you unhappy in your life and try to think of how you can change them.
- Assess if whether the change required is your attitude towards the thing making you unhappy OR the situation itself. Basically, accept it and learn to cope (option 1) OR take a risk and disrupt your life (option 2).
- Always try changing your attitude first (option 1). If some time passes and you still aren’t satisfied, force yourself to consider option 2.
- Once you’re in option 2 mode (take a risk), you need to make a plan and understand all the steps it will take to reach your goal. The better you understand what taking this risk will mean, the more you’ll either be okay with either making this decision OR going back to option 1 (trying to cope).
- Begin implementing option 2 by doing small steps that will lead you towards the moment you finally do it.
- Finally take the plunge (even if you don’t think you’re ready… you may never feel ready) and enjoy the ride.
What you need to understand
- Results will take time. That’s where the persistence kicks in.
- Whatever you decide to do, you can always pivot. Success the way you’ve pictured it in your mind may not happen. Don’t be afraid to change the plan.
- Comparing yourself to others will do more harm than good. Don’t get sucked into the comparison trap. Nobody’s journey will look the same.
- You’re absolutely good enough. Kick imposter syndrome in the ass.
- You may lose some trusted friends in taking chances. Consider if it’s worth it. Good friends usually support decisions that will make you happy no matter what they think.
Big, exciting things are on the other side of scary
As hard as taking a chance can be, there can be huge rewards for you when you pursue these decisions and see them through. A life that’s stable and secure can be very rewarding, if that’s what you want. You don’t always have to rock the boat to be satisfied.
You need to change things up when:
- you’re looking around you and something isn’t right
- you don’t feel fulfilled
- you feel like you’re meant for something more
- you can’t sleep at night because you know you need to make a major change
- you’ve been trying something for a long time and it’s not working
- you’re absolutely miserable
- you’re making people around you miserable
Learn to recognize when taking a chance makes the most sense for you. Like I said, it’s a muscle that will only get better with time.